Monthly Archives: October 2010

sunday in the kitchen

i try to make sunday a day of preparation for my workweek, as far as food goes. today while listening to the chiefs play, i’m doing some baking. sort of in honor of halloween, i’m making these paleo-esque pumpkin muffins (recipe below) adapted from a recipe at caveman food. my main adaptation, and what makes them paleo-esque instead of straight up paleo is the addition of semi-sweet chocolate chips. i can’t help it. in the past i have made what i think is a killer pumpkin bread using a recipe that included chocolate chips. now i’m trying to do the paleo/primal thing, but can’t imagine a pumpkin bread-type recipe without the chocolate chips. and i can’t afford cacao nibs right now, so the semi-sweet chips will have to do. anyway, these pumpkin muffins are primarily for me to have something decent to eat for breakfast, so i can stop going to the med center cafeteria and eating eggs that may or may not be real (if they are real, i’m certain they’re not local, organic, or free-range), and contributing to the landfill with my daily styrofoam collection.

i’m also doing an adaptation of this roasted root veggie recipe, so i can either have it for lunch or dinner most days of the week. and i’m roasting some asparagus. yesterday i sautéed some chicken breasts that i can use in various salads and dishes throughout the week. and i have a couple of salmon filets and steaks that i’ll work into my menus at some point. so, barring any disasters, i should be good to go on the food front for the week.

paleo-esque pumpkin muffins

makes 12 muffins

1 1/2 cups almond flour

3/4 cup canned pumpkin (NOT pumpkin pie filling)

1 tsp baking powder

1 tsp baking soda

3 eggs

1/3 cup honey

3/4 tsp cinnamon

3/4 tsp nutmeg

1 tsp vanilla extract

1/8 tsp salt

1/4 cup semi-sweet chocolate chips

1/4 cup chopped pecans

preheat oven to 350°f.

mix together all the ingredients except for the chocolate chips and pecans until smooth. fold in the chips and pecans. spoon batter into 6 greased muffin cups (i use coconut oil) and bake for 20-25 minutes.

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miscellany on all hallow’s eve eve

i just returned from city market for one of the last times this year and it is gorgeous out today, although it was a bit nippy when i first went out. there are still lots of locally grown veggies and fruits to be had, but the vendors are starting to dwindle in number. sigh.

so i’ve been thinking a lot about this asperger’s syndrome thing. i think it is highly possible that i do have it, and it is also highly possible that it is ‘just’ a border line case. really i do okay most of the time, but i have been paying more attention over the last couple of days of what annoys me, and how i come across to people and interpret their reactions to me, that kind of thing. i have found that i’m really annoyed by noise a lot more than i thought, but i don’t realize it unless i’m not listening to my ipod. i didn’t listen to it for part of my trip into work yesterday, and i realized that the sound of the stop bell on the bus is literally like fingernails on a chalkboard to me. i found that i would flinch slightly whenever someone would ring it. so maybe the ipod is more of a necessity and less of a luxury to me than i first considered. 🙂

my roommate had a dinner party on thursday night and while it was nice, i felt like i was on my guard. not for anything that anyone might have done to me, but just making sure i was doing or saying the right things (which is funny because i really didn’t say all that much). then after dinner, everyone was sitting at the dining room table talking, so i decided to go to the living room to work on some stuff (on cleaning up this blog, actually). well, everyone else moved to the living room too, and i was really wishing i had my laptop back. i felt like i was expected to be in the conversation, but i really had nothing to add to it, and i felt uncomfortable being there on the computer, so i just went to my room after a few minutes. i really don’t want to be anti-social, but that’s exactly how i felt the other night. and, i don’t think saying ‘well, that’s just how i am’ is acceptable anymore. i’ve known this about myself pretty much all along, but maybe this is why i have such a hard time with romantic relationships. i’m not an easy person to just make conversation with, but it’s not easy for me to put myself out there either. (i suppose that’s true for everyone.) i don’t know. i need to see what, if anything, my insurance would cover and see about at least getting a diagnosis, so i know what i’m working with. after 45 years, this social anxiety thing is starting to get a little old.

so tonight for dinner i’m going to make this orzo-asparagus-avocado-salad-thing, substituting sliced chicken breasts for the orzo pasta (some substitution, huh?). i am trying to cut down on the carbs significantly (although i bought a piece of carrot cake at city market from a certain amish vendor i always buy from, but i can’t say no to good carrot cake). i figure this salad will work just as well with protein as it would with pasta. i made it a couple of times last year using the orzo, and it was fab. anyway, i’m gonna watch a couple of movies this evening, and before that, will try to keep track of the mizzou-nebraska game today as i do other things around the house. and that is what’s on tap for my saturday. how very exciting. 🙂

repost: love of god

this is another repost of something i wrote back in march 2007. i think it’s something i needed to see now, at this particular juncture in my life. first of all, i would eventually like to be in a long term relationship, and this reminds me figuring out what that looks like for me is a continual work in progress. (however, i do have it narrowed down pretty much to these three criteria: a man who can make me think, make me laugh, and make me cum. anything else after that is a bonus.) secondly and somewhat more immediate, it reminds me that i should probably call or email my friend mentioned in the post, just to see how he’s doing.

The Love of God/The God of Love

To Love is to reach God.
Never will a Lover’s chest
feel any sorrow.
Never will a Lover’s robe
be touched by mortals.
Never will a Lover’s body
be found buried in the earth.
To Love is to reach God.
– Rumi

One of my good online friends who knows of my recent relationship woes (actually of my woes since 2000) asked me the other day if I had considered ‘finding religion’, I suppose as some sort of salve for my current situation. I replied that I absolutely could not set foot in a church right now. It’s not that I don’t have a belief in God, because I only get by because of that belief. Hoping I don’t sound self-congratulatory, I pray daily, I meditate some days, do some spiritual reading, and pretty much try to see God’s hand in everything that happens, even in the stupid shit I bring upon myself.

And yet, maybe he’s right. Not about me finding religion, but about at least finding a somewhat likeminded spiritual community. But I’m such an odd duck with my beliefs, and I don’t want a group of people who just pays lip service to what they believe, but who actually lives it. I’ve read a lot of Rumi over the past year. Rumi was a 13th century Persian poet and mystic whose only goal in life was to be one with God. I rather view him as a role model in that regard, and have tried to model some of my personal practices towards a similar goal. Then I get distracted by life.

I told my friend, and a couple of others, that I was taking a sabbatical this summer, from men and sex and relationships. I’m not getting any younger, and I really need to concentrate on figuring out what it is that I want and need in a relationship and for myself as a single woman. One way for me to do this, I think, is to follow Rumi’s lead, which is to just love God. Not to seek him/her, but just to love what already is. And in doing so, in any future relationship, I can find someone through whom I can express that love to God.

repost: miracles, jesus walking on water

this is a repost from 2007. i have been looking through old entries, trying to clean up the blog, and i saw this, and thought: wow, did i really write this? apparently some incarnation of me did, so here it is again, for 2010 and beyond.

Dudes, have you read this? One of my favorite quotes is ‘I would rather live in a world surrounded by mystery rather than in a world where everything can be explained.’ (Or something like that, close enough…) Apparently there is a researcher at Florida State University who says the miracle of Jesus walking on water can be explained by some perfect atmospheric conditions that caused ice to form on the Sea of Galilee. When Jesus was on the water, he was actually walking on ice, according to this scientist.

C’mon. Whether you believe the biblical story is true or not, does everything have to be explained? There’s no poetry, no mystery, no hoping for that one-in-a-million chance that something good might come out of a bad situation, no bloody faith involved in the idea of Jesus walking on ice. You ‘explain’ this, and you’d better explain him turning water into wine, feeding 5000 people with seven fishes, and Lazarus being raised from the dead, for starters. Actually you’d better start explaining how Jesus himself was raised from the dead. I’m not a biblical literalist (anymore), but I do believe these stories of miracles serve a purpose. One of those huge purposes is to give us hope that we can rise above our circumstances if we will just look inside ourselves for the strength to step out of the boat onto the water. Stepping out onto ice takes some faith and strength too, but it’s the things we can’t see that gives us more power and courage than the things we can, if we’re looking with the right eyes. And looking at most anything literally is not looking with the right eyes.

a stupid little facebook quiz

(yeah, i know i’ve been gone for a few months. i’m going to ignore that fact and proceed with this like i’ve been blogging faithfully every day. by the way, i’m living in the kansas city area again, on the kansas side this time. we’ll get into the how and why that happened in future posts.)

just for fun i took this little (well, not so little – it was 50 questions) quiz on facebook, one that calculates a person’s autism spectrum quotient. the questions were of the variety where one is forced to pick a response, requiring that you choose whether you agree or disagree with various statements. a normal score for a female is 15, and for a male, 17. people with high functioning autism or asperger’s syndrome score at about a 35. my score was a 34.

granted, one could say that, it being a quiz on facebook of all places, it shouldn’t be taken too seriously. plus, just because of the way i move through life, i knew i wasn’t going to score a 15. and, the questions were weighted heavily towards math, and social skills. still, such a high score came as kind of a shock to me. at the same time, it makes perfect sense, again looking at the way i’ve moved through life.

i don’t remember much about my childhood. rather, how i remember it is not through specific experiences so much, but as an overall feeling of being different, of always being on the outside. (at this point, i really wish my mother were still alive so i could ask her a whole bunch of questions about my behaviors during my first 10 years or so.) i went to speech therapy around the age of four, because although apparently i was developing normally in most areas, i wasn’t talking. i just wouldn’t talk, but apparently whatever therapy i underwent worked. and, i don’t know this, i’m just surmising, but i guess things were okay until i entered school.

actually what i remember of first grade was fine. i do remember getting in trouble for stuff like stealing a math workbook to take home and completing the entire workbook in a weekend, or getting a zero on a penmanship assignment because i stuck curly-cues at the end of each of my letters, or writing a dirty letter to this boy that i liked (‘dear d—–, do it to me. love, gail.’ seriously.). second grade was when my troubles began. after being in there for only a month, i was promoted to third grade, because the work i was doing presented no challenge. third grade was when the teasing and bullying began. i was an immediate target because of being moved up a grade, which supposedly meant i thought i was smarter and therefore better than everyone else. it got to the point where sometimes i would deliberately not do homework or do poorly on tests/assignments just so the other kids could see that i was ‘normal’, just like them. but it didn’t really matter. the die had been cast.

fortunately, in a number of ways, the school system in sedalia finally became desegregated my 4th grade year, and i went to a new school, which had the potential to be a new beginning. i made lots of new friends there, many of whom were white, something new for me at that time. however, some of the kids also came to this new school from the old school, and continued making fun of me, but now for an additional reason: they thought i acted white. part of it was the way i talked (very proper/’white’ – which actually happens to be a symptom of asperger’s) and part of it was that i continued to do well in school (except when i deliberately didn’t). then some of the ‘popular’ white kids got in on the act, and it was done. i spent much of my time in junior high and high school avoiding certain hallways and people simply because i didn’t want to be teased. i got made fun of because of my good grades and because people knew i wouldn’t respond to their teasing, other than to maybe run off crying. yes, i did have a few friends throughout this time, but i was always on the outside looking in. those friendships were genuine (and some have since been renewed through facebook), but at the same time, there were far too many people who were nice to me only because i would let them copy off of my tests (and i let them, because i wanted to be liked and this was the only way i knew how).

during high school, i was involved in a few extra-curricular activities like choir and yearbook staff. otherwise i didn’t really have a social life. i didn’t go to parties, didn’t go to a single dance, and didn’t even go to the school-wide party the night of graduation. it was too intimidating a thought to even consider. i knew that if i did attend such events, i’d be the one standing near the wall all night, or the one someone would play a practical joke on. it was better to just stay home and read a book.

going away to college at mizzou was probably the best thing that could have happened to me. (although, i must insert here that i did a really stupid thing my senior year in high school. i turned down a full scholarship to the university of chicago because it was ‘too far away from home’. and my mother let me. damn damn damn damn damn.) it got me into a new environment, where i could truly start over. i made a whole new set of friends who knew nothing about my past, and began to learn to socially interact. i was also introduced to alcohol and drugs, which were significant aids in my social education. i actually learned to interact so well that i stopped attending class and flunked out my second semester (but eventually did go back and complete a degree, after a few semesters at sfcc).

since that time and beyond, i think i’ve learned to appear ‘normal’ for the most part. but i don’t feel normal. i still have trouble looking people in the eye, especially those i don’t know well, and in certain social situations, i don’t know how i’m supposed to be or what i’m supposed to do, or at what point in the conversation do i say something. more often than i’d like, people wonder why i’m so quiet, and i know that some people do see me as being stuck up (which is so not true) or aloof. i would like to think that people are pleasantly surprised once they get to know me, that i’m really actually a pretty interesting person who has a lot to offer in a relationship, whether it’s business, friendship, or romantic. it helps that when i’m in social situations and drinking, i tend to be a happy drunk, for the most part, although surprisingly, i’m not an alcoholic. (um, my addiction is sugar.) i’m everybody’s friend when i’m drinking, but that doesn’t happen that often (which is probably a good thing). i realize that, overall, i’m a really hard person to get to know, especially in a face-to-face environment. i really do try to work around it, but at the same time, i’ve accepted all this and can live it.

which is why i don’t understand why the results of this autism spectrum quiz mean so much to me. but they do. it gives this all a label (although i’m typically anti-label, i think this can be an exception, as long as it’s not used as a crutch) and helps to make sense of why i behave in certain ways, why i feel the way i do in certain situations. i’m okay with going out to bars and to live shows, etc. (i even went to woodstock 99 and was fine there, as long as i was at the edge of the crowds), but i still am quite uncomfortable in crowds. i hate going to stores like wal-mart (not just because it’s wal-mart, although yes, their ethics are a part of my hatred) because i always feel so raw and exposed and annoyed by the end of the trip. my idea of a vacation from hell would be a trip to disneyland or disney world. this label explains all that and tells me it’s okay. it also explains why i may seem quirky and aloof to people who don’t know me well (or even to people who do).

i wish i could be ‘normal’ and know how to interact with people, without feeling freakish, but that’s not going to happen. that fact is illustrated to me every day during my daily commute, just by how i interact and try to avoid interacting with most people on the bus. it is a small comfort to know that there is some sort of reason i’m like this, but what to do about it is the big question. in most situations i do appear normal, and am able to fake it, to some degree. however i would like to be able to interact with people without it feeling forced. i suppose the next logical step would be for me to see a psychologist, to get some sort of diagnosis. as i work at an academic medical center, how hard could that be? today it seems pretty dang hard. i’ve been looking at a few sites having to do with adult asperger’s and hopefully they can help give me some insight as to what comes next.

what are the main symptoms of asperger’s syndrome in adults?

wrong planet – autism community

asperger’s disorder